Thought for the Day – 8 August – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Awareness of the Presence of God
“The cultivation of a continual awareness of the presence of God is such a useful practice that many writers regard it as the fundamental principle of the spiritual life.
As St Alphonsus de’Liguori points out, it obliges us to do three thing:
(1) To preserve ourselves completely free from sin;
(2) To practise virtue, in every possible way and
(3) To seek a closer and more loving contact with God (Al Servizio Divino, III, 1,3).
The realisation of the presence of God is a particularly good way of subduing our passions and conquering temptation. “If we were always aware of God’s presence within us,” writes St Thomas Aquinas, “we should never, or hardly ever, sin” (Opusc 58, c 2).
It is unlikely that a man who is committing sin adverts to the fact that God is watching him and could intervene to punish him at any moment.
He has forgotten the presence of God, his Creator and Redeemer, Who has been so good to him and Who will one day be his judge.
His mind has been darkened and his heart led astray by the deceptive pleasures of this world.
God is far from the sinner because the sinner ignores His inspirations and advice and has, in short, rejected Him.
The unhappy man will never find peace in this world and is doomed to eternal unhappiness in the next.
“If we remained always in the presence of God,” wrote St John Chrysostom, “we should neither conceive, nor do anything evil” (Homil 8, ad, Phil 2).”
Quote/s of the Day – 8 August – Saturday of the Eighteenth week in Ordinary Time, Readings: Habakkuk 112-2, 4, Psalm 9:8-13, Matthew 17:14-20
“If you have faith” – Matthew 17:20
“If I only touch his garment, I will be made well.” Jesus turned, and seeing her he said, “Take heart, daughter, your faith has made you well.” And instantly the woman was made well.”
Jesus said to him, “Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”
“Elizabeth says: ‘Blessed are you because you have believed.’ You also are blessed, because you have heard and believed. A soul that believes, both conceives and brings forth the Word of God and acknowledges His works.”
St Ambrose of Milan (340-397)
Great Latin Father and Doctor of the Church
“Do you desire security? Here you have it. The Lord says to you, “I will never abandon you, I will always be with you.” If a good man made you such a promise, you would trust him. God makes it and do you doubt? Do you seek a support, more sure than the word of God, which is infallible? Surely, He has made the promise, He has written it, He has pledged His word for it, it is most certain!”
“To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible.”
St Augustine (354-430)
Father and Doctor of Grace
“Paul says: I appeal to you by the mercy of God, to present your bodies as a sacrifice, living and holy. The prophet said the same thing: Sacrifice and offering you did not desire but you have prepared a body for me. Each of us is called to be both a sacrifice to God and His priest. Do not forfeit what divine authority confers on you. Put on the garment of holiness, gird yourself with the belt of chastity. Let Christ be your helmet, let the cross on your forehead be your unfailing protection. Your breastplate, should be the knowledge of God, that He Himself has given you. Keep burning continually, the sweet smelling incense of prayer. Take up the sword of the Spirit. Let your heart be an altar. Then, with full confidence in God, present your body for sacrifice. God desires, not death but faith. God thirsts, not for blood but for self-surrender. God is appeased, not by slaughter but by the offering of your free will.”
St Peter Chrysologus (c 400-450)
Bishop, Father & Doctor of the Church
“Doctor of Homilies”
“All things are possible for him who believes, more to him who hopes, even more to him who loves.”
St Lawrence of Brindisi(1559-1619)
Apostolic Doctor of the Church
“Faith is like a bright ray of sunlight. It enables us to see God in all things, as well as, all things in God.”
St Francis de Sales (1567-1622)
Doctor of Charity
“Bad Christians lack faith and do not deny it but they claim to be excused, in that they have no reasons for believing. Because of this, there is nothing as common as this speech in the mouths of many people: “If I had witnessed a miracle I should be a saint!” “Evil and unfaithful generation! It seeks a sign!” (Mt 12:39). The wicked look for signs.”
St Claude la Colombière SJ (1641-1682)
Apostle of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
One Minute Reflection – 8 August – Saturday of the Eighteenth week in Ordinary Time, Readings: Habakkuk 112-2, 4, Psalm 9:8-13, Matthew 17:14-20 and the Memorial of St Cyriacus the Martyr, Deacon (Died c 303) One of the Fourteen Holy Helpers and of St Dominic (1170-1221)
He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.”… Matthew 17:20
REFLECTION – “The word “faith” has one syllable but two meanings. First of all it is concerned with doctrine and it denotes the assent of the soul to some truth. Faith in this sense brings blessing and salvation to the soul, as the Lord said: “He who hears my word and believes in him who sent me, has eternal life.” (Jn 5:24)…
The word “faith” has a second meaning – it is a particular gift and grace of Christ. “To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing” (1Cor 12:8-9). Faith in the sense of a particular divine grace conferred by the Spirit is not, then, primarily concerned with doctrine but with giving a person powers, quite beyond their natural capability. Whoever has this faith will say to a mountain: “Move from here to there” and it will move and anyone who can in fact say these words through faith and “believes without hesitation that they will come to pass,” (Mk 11:23) receives this particular grace. It is to this kind of faith that the Lord’s words refer – “If you have faith as a grain of mustard seed.” Now, a mustard seed is small in size but its energy thrusts it upwards with the force of fire. Small are its roots, great the spread of its boughs and once it is fully grown the birds of the air find shelter in its branches (Mt 13:32). So too, in a flash, faith can produce the most wonderful effects in the soul.
Enlightened by faith the soul gazes at the glory of God so far as human nature allows and, even before the consummation of all things, ranging beyond the boundaries of the universe, it has a vision of the judgement and of God making good the rewards he promised. As far as it depends on you then, cherish this gift of faith that leads you to God and you will then receive the higher gift which no effort of yours can reach, no power of yours attain.”…St Cyril of Jerusalem (313-350) Bishop of Jerusalem, Father & Doctor of the Church (Baptismal Catechesis 5)
PRAYER – Holy God, grant we pray, Your Holy Spirit of love and divine grace to grow ever more in faith. By our prayers and love for You and our neighbour, may we merit Your divine assistance. Lord Jesus, help us to dwell often on the manner in which we are following You. Let us strive each day to become more and more like You in all things and, to become beacons of Your Light, to all the world. St Cyriacus Martyr for Christ, you who were and are a light to all, pray for us and may the prayers of St Dominic assist us in our day and may his zeal be our inspiration to always fight the good fight,amen.
Our Morning Offering –8 August – “Month of the Immaculate Heart of Mary” – Saturday of the Eighteenth week in Ordinary Time
Mary Our Strength By Venerable Pope Pius XII (1876-1958) (Pontiff 1939-1958)
O Virgin, fair as the moon,
delight of the angels and saints in heaven,
grant that we may become like you
and that our souls may receive a ray of your beauty,
which does not decline with the years
but shines forth into eternity.
O Mary, sun of heaven,
restore life where there is death
and enlighten spirits, where there is darkness.
Turn your countenance to your children
and radiate on us your light and your fervour.
O Mary, powerful as an army,
grant victory to our ranks.
We are very weak
and our enemy rages with uttermost conceit.
But under your banner
we are confident of overcoming him. ….
Save us, O Mary,
fair as the moon,
bright as the sun,
awe-inspiring as an army set in battle array
and sustained not by hatred
but by the ardour of love.
Saint of the Day – 8 August – Saint Cyriacus (also called St Cyriac) the Martyr, Deacon (Died c 303) One of the Fourteen Holy Helpers, Confessor, Miracle-worker – born in the 3rd Century and died by being tortured and beheaded in 303 on the Salarian Way, Rome, Italy. Patronages – against diabolical possession, against eye disease, against temptations (especially at time of death), Altidona, Italy, Saint-Cierges, Vaud, Switzerland.
Emperor Maximin in token of his gratitude to Diocletian, who had ceded the western half of his empire to him, ordered the building of that magnificent structure in Rome, whose ruins are still known as the “Baths of Diocletian.” The Christians, imprisoned for the Faith, were compelled to labour under cruel overseers at this building. A zealous Christian Roman, touched with pity at this moving spectacle, resolved to employ his means in improving the condition of these poor victims of persecution.
Among the Deacons of the Roman Church at that time, was one by the name of Cyriacus, who was distinguished by his zeal in the performance of all good works. He, with two companions, Largus and Smaragdus, the pious Roman selected for the execution of his plan. Cyriacus devoted himself to the work with great ardour. One day, whilst visiting the labourers to distribute food amongst them, he observed a decrepit old man, who was so feeble that he was unable to perform his severe task. Filled with pity, Cyriacus offered to take his place. The aged prisoner consenting, the merciful Deacon thenceforth performed the arduous labour of the building.
After some time he was discovered and cast into prison. There he again found opportunity to exercise his zeal. Some blind men who had great confidence in the power of his prayer, came to ask him for help in their affliction and he restored their sight. He and his companions spent three years in prison and during that time he healed many sick and converted a great number of heathens from the darkness of paganism.
Then, Emperor Diocletian’s little daughte, became possessed by an evil spirit and no-one was able to deliver her from it. To the idolatrous pagan priests who were called, the evil spirit declared that he would leave the girl only when commanded to do so by Cyriacus, the Deacon. He was hastily summoned and prayed and made the Sign of the Cross over the girl and the evil spirit departed. The Emperor loved his daughter, therefore, he was grateful to the holy Deacon and presented him with a house, where he and his companions might serve their God unmolested by their enemies.
About this time, the daughter of the Persian King, Sapor was attacked by a similar malady and when he heard what Cyriacus had done for Diocletian’s daughter, he wrote to the Emperor, asking him to send the Christian Deacon. It was done and Cyriacus, on foot, set out for Persia. Arriving at his destination, he prayed over the girl and the evil spirit left her. On hearing of this miracle, four hundred and twenty heathens were converted to the Faith. These, the Saint instructed and Baptised and then set out on his homeward journey.
Upon his return to Rome, he continued his life of prayer and good works. But when Diocletian soon afterward left for the East, his co-emperor Maximin seized the opportunity to give vent to his hatred for the Christians and renewed their persecution. One of the first victims was Cyriacus. He was loaded with chains and brought before the judge, who first tried blandishments and promises to induce him to renounce Christ and to sacrifice to the idols but in vain. Then the Confessor of Christ was stretched on the rack, his limbs torn from their sockets and be was beaten with clubs. His companions shared the same tortures. Finally, when the Emperor and the judge were convinced that nothing would shake the constancy of the holy Martyrs, they were beheaded. They gained the crown of glory in March 303.
In the life of St Cyriacus, two virtues shine forth in a special manner; his love of God and his charity toward his fellow men. His love of God impelled him to sacrifice all, even his life, for His sake, thereby fulfilling the commandment: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart and with thy whole soul and with thy whole mind” [Matt. 12: 37]. A greater love of God no man can have, than giving his life for Him.
St Cyriacus also fulfilled the other commandment, of which Our Lord declared, “And the second is like to this: Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” [Matt. 12: 39]. He helped his fellow Christians to bear their burdens, relieved them in their sufferings, assisted and encouraged them by word and deed and edified them by his example. His sole aim was to do good to all men, mindful of the words of the Royal Prophet: “Blessed is he that understands concerning the needy and the poor” [Ps. 40: 2]. He was so imbued with the virtue of charity, that he was disposed even to sacrifice his life for the relief and assistance of others.
How shall we justify our unfeeling hardness of heart, by which we seek every trifling pretence to exempt us from the duty of aiding the unfortunate? Remember the threat of the apostle, “Judgement without mercy to him that hath not done mercy” [James 2: 13].
O GOD, Who grants us joy by the remembrance of Thy blessed Martyrs Cyriacus, Largus, and Smaragdus, grant, we beseech Thee, that we, by celebrating their memory, may imitate their fortitude in suffering. Through Christ our Lord. Amen
St Mummolus of Fleury
St Myron the Wonder Worker
St Paulus Ge Tingzhu
St Rathard of Diessen
St Severus of Vienne
St Ternatius of Besançon
St Ultan of Crayke
Bl William of Castellammare di Stabia
Bl Wlodzimierz Laskowski
Martyrs of Albano – 4 saints: Four Christians who were martyred together, and about we today know little more than their names – Carpóforo, Secondo, Severiano and Vittorino. They were martyred in Albano, Italy – their remains are interred in the San Senator cemetery, on the Appian Way, 15 miles from Rome, Italy.
Martyrs of Rome – 5 saints: Five Christians martyred together; we know nothing else about them but the names – Ciriaco, Crescenziano, Giuliana, Memmia and Smaragdus. They were martyred at the 7 mile marker, on the Via Ostia, Rome, Italy.
Martyred in the Spanish Civil War – Martyrs of El Saler – 5 beati: Five nuns, all members of the Sisters of the Pious Schools, all teachers, and all martyred together in the Spanish Civil War.
• Antonia Riba Mestres
• Maria Baldillou Bullit
• María Luisa Girón Romera
• Nazaria Gómez Lezaun
• Pascuala Gallén Martí
They were martyred on 8 August 1936 in El Saler, Valencia, Spain and Beatified on 11 March 2001 by Pope John Paul II.
Martyred in the Spanish Civil War:
Bl Cruz Laplana Laguna
Bl Fernando Español Berdie
Bl Leoncio López Ramos
Bl Manuel Aranda Espejo
Bl Mariano Pina Turón
Bl Pedro Álvarez Pérez